Eight La Trobe University students are helping the City of Greater Bendigo develop a localised and sustainable food system, in a bid to make the region more liveable, sustainable and joyful.
The students have been investigating topics such as zero waste, community participation in growing and preparing food, Indigenous food, and connecting public spaces with food. Their findings will help inform Council’s future strategies.
Students shared their prototype solutions with the community – including a mobile community food garden and pop-up park – in the Hargreaves Mall.
They sought feedback on their experimental prototypes – in particular whether people thought the students’ ideas could work in Bendigo.
The project is part of an immersive five-week subject called CityStudio, which was piloted by La Trobe and the City of Greater Bendigo last year.
Founded in Vancouver in 2011, the CityStudio model has engaged with over 5,500 students and launched 782 real-world enterprise projects in city hubs across Australia, Canada and the UK.
La Trobe lecturer in planning, Dr Melissa Kennedy, said through solving a real-world problem, the students are developing a wide range of skills and networks.
“While coming up with innovative solutions, the students are really honing their skills in research and design, as well as engagement, dialogue and complex decision-making,” Dr Kennedy said.
“This subject fits in really well with La Trobe’s ‘career-ready’ ethos, which underpins all of our teaching. The networks and skills they establish through this project will help in their future careers.”
City of Greater Bendigo Regional Sustainable Development Manager, Trevor Budge, said the City is thrilled to again be collaborating with La Trobe using this innovative model.
“This project is great for students because it gives them an opportunity to apply their skills in a real life situation, not just in the classroom,” Mr Budge said.
“It’s also good for the City because we get to tap into a range of skills and ideas we may not otherwise have, as well as create pathways for young people who may seek a career in local government.”
Students will present their ideas to Councillors at the offices in Lyttleton Terrace, before they are considered as part of Council’s future planning.